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Dad's Green Packard: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/10/2020 4:00:00 AM by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

I was 16 years old, with a brand-new driver’s license. It was a beautiful summer day, and Mom and I decided to play tennis. She let me drive the car – our green Packard, my dad’s pride and joy. He kept the Packard clean and shiny, forbidding the dust to touch it.

Full of confidence, I reached our destination. I was sure I could move our big car through the narrow opening by the tennis court.

I heard something scrape the side of the car

Foolishly, I ignored the sound and kept going. Paint scraped off along the entire length of the car, which stopped only when the rear fender hung up on a park post, jacking up the back of the car two feet in the air.

I felt suddenly sick to my stomach.

Carefully controlling her voice and emotions, Mother told me to go call Dad at the Naval Reserve Center he commanded and tell him to bring a saw to the park. I would rather have had a spanking, although I had outgrown them years before.

I had to call my dad myself

Finding a pay phone, I nervously called him. In a tiny, trembling voice, I stammered, "Daddy, could you come to the park right way… and… uhh… could you bring a saw with you?"

Waiting for him to arrive, I imagined the worst possible scenario. He was going to be furious with me and rightly so. I fully deserved whatever dreadful punishment he was going to give me. He'd probably ground me for the next ten years. He might even turn my prized driver's license into confetti. What a horrible, unforgivable mistake I'd made!

Finally, Dad drove up, looking handsome in his officer's uniform. Without a word, he set about the business of sawing off the guilty post.  At last his beloved Packard was free, but sadly it was dented and scarred.

I knew I should pay for the damage I caused

Tearfully I told my dad how sorry I was and asked him to forgive me. Not only did he completely forgive me, but he also graciously paid the cost of repainting the car. All I could do was say thanks with a deep realization that he had given me mercy. He didn’t give me the punishment I deserved.

Without being aware it perhaps, my dad modeled our Heavenly Father in this incident. We have all done things that have damaged God’s good creation and the people He loves. We deserve His punishment. Yet not only is He willing to forgive us as His children, but He has also graciously paid our spiritual debt in full. All we can do is say "thank You" to Him for His mercy.

What Jesus said

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy," (Matthew 5:7 NIV).

Today’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your willingness to forgive me for my words and actions that have damaged Your people and Your beautiful world. Thank You for paying the complete cost of my sins. Help me to always model Your forgiveness and mercy in my relationship with others. Amen.

© 1998 Paula Kortkamp Combs


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Dad's Green Packard: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
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